Friday, October 21, 2016

Discuss aversion to clean elections instead of crying war, Jamal told

Anne Muhammad     Published     Updated

Sungai Besar Umno chief Jamal Md Yunos should hold a dialogue with Bersih to explain his aversion to the call for electoral reform instead of declaring war, said a Bersih leader.

"Why the need to talk of war when you (Jamal) can talk of ideas?

"I feel it is better he tells us why he doesn't like a clean government, why he doesn't like fair elections," said Bersih exco member Rama Ramanathan.

"Why doesn't he like the right to have a difference of opinion and to speak freely?" he said at a press conference at Vistana Hotel today after a solidarity event for the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Laureates awarded to Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah.

"The statement that Jamal made is like a kindergarten or primary school kid.

"There is no need to make statements like that, let's be more like adults.

"If you don't agree with us, then you should hold a dialogue, not incite people to violence," he said.
Yesterday, Jamal (photo) upon release from his remand after incidents of violence seen in clashes between the red-shirts and the Bersih convoys over the past weeks, declared an "all out war" against the coalition for free and fair elections.

Umno leaders also urged the police to arrest Bersih leaders just as they have Jamal.

'What's Bersih's crime?'
Rama meanwhile said Bersih welcomed the Gwangju prize as recognition of the group's efforts to encourage the people to stand up against oppression, corruption and to voice their opinion to the government as part of the democratic process.
"We are not afraid of the police or the law, because we have acted within our rights outlined by the federal constitution and we are merely exercising our rights."

"Therefore, if we are to be arrested, I would like to ask why.

"Is it wrong for us to stand up for the federal constitution? I don't understand.

"What will they charge us with, what wrong have we done, we have not incited anyone to perpetrate violence."


20 OCTOBER 2016

PKR Sarawak strongly condemns the death threats made against Bersih 2 Chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah, Bersih Secretariat member Mandeep Singh and Hakam President Ambiga Sreenevasan. Splashing red paint on the car of Maria Chin’s son early today is a new low even for these faceless cowards.

Threats against Bersih are worsening, now taking on a terrorist slant as the doctored images show. This is hardly surprising, considering how people like Ibrahim Ali, Ali Tinju and Jamal Yunus have been treated with kid gloves by the authorities and the government leaders. These people become more and more emboldened with each incident. They believe they can issue threats commit violent acts with impunity. When Ibrahim Ali called for BM bibles to be burnt, there was no action taken against him but instead excuses made on his behalf, with the AG saying it was not seditious. The UMNO-connected Jamal Yunus and his red shirts have been allowed to get away with countless acts of intimidation and violence without any consequences. Ali Tinju was arrested and released on bail for threatening Maria with violence last month, but only after an outcry from an enraged public and only a week after the incident. We have yet to know whether charges will be brought against him.

We expect the IGP and his police force to take all necessary steps to trace and arrest the maker of these threats and the paint-thrower urgently, and without fear or favour. All eyes are on them now. They should show the same zeal that they apply when arresting members of the opposition for trivial matters such as speaking up on the 1MDB issue.

Maria Chin Abdullah, Ambiga and the Bersih team have not committed any offences. They are merely exercising their rights and indeed, voicing the demands of Malaysian citizens, as they are entitled to under the law, on issues that are of great concern to many people. Calling for free and fair elections and justice should be encouraged and Maria and the Bersih team should be protected by the law. Bersih does not speak for just a particular section of the population, but for the whole community of Malaysians. All citizens should be outraged that people who champion democracy and justice are subject to such vile threats.

The latest threat and the paint-throwing incident provide us with a test of the government’s neutrality. If no action is taken against the culprits, the public cannot be blamed if they perceive that these actions are done with the tacit approval of the UMNO/BN government. Malaysians must be prepared to bring them down in the next election if Malaysia is to have any hope of redemption.

Baru Bian
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak / ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan


19 OCTOBER 2016

On the change in education policy in Sarawak, at last there is someone from the BN who has the guts to say it as it is. Stupid. Everyone has known it for the longest time, and that is why we started asking a few years ago that the government take back autonomy over Education.

There has been lively discussion on why the Chief Minister chose to refer to the change ‘30’ years ago, with some pointing out the various leaders who were responsible then. If we are to start finger-pointing, let us not forget that the blame also falls on our leaders who did not raise a squeak in protest. In fact, it was the late Rahman Yakub who championed the use of BM as the medium of instruction when he was the Education Minister in 1969-1970 before he became the Chief Minister of Sarawak.

Let us not confine our discussion to the medium of instruction but also to the whole system of education. There is no doubt that the system is rotten. With every new Education Minister comes a new policy so that he can leave his so-called legacy. There is no continuity and the regular policy flips have the teachers struggling with the changes. Take the latest Education Blueprint and its lofty shifts. We have moved way past the 2015 deadline for the repair of all dilapidated schools and yet the schools remain the same or worse.

What about the dumbing down of students? I have been told by former professors that they were pressured to pass students who did not deserve to pass. They were told that the problem was not with the students but with the teachers. This has led to a steady decline in the intellectual and developmental level of our population and a downward shift in our university rankings. Just compare the performance of our institutions of higher learning with those in Singapore and our neighbouring countries. This is why many of our so called top students have difficulty coping when they are sent to foreign universities where they are not given any special concessions. This is why our universities keep producing unemployable graduates. In fact, just yesterday, MP M Kulasegaran called for a stop to the mass production of low quality lawyers. There are some that would say that in Malaysia, mediocrity has been an effective means of political control.

This short-sighted ‘syok sendiri’ policy has resulted in Malaysia becoming a land where mediocrity reigns, and where lack of initiative and drive is commonplace. This is truly a betrayal of our people by the government. Imagine the potential that is not nurtured, the genius that is undiscovered and untapped. Lowering the bar has done the people no favours. To reverse this, we need to implement a drastic change in our Education system and put in place sensible policies that must be maintained for the long term. The culture of patronage and entitlement must be replaced with meritocracy and a thirst for knowledge and genuine excellence. Most urgently, we need to start producing students who are fluent in English, who are taught to think analytically, and who are given the tools to truly excel, instead of being merely mediocre, uninspired and unemployable products of this diseased education system.

The Chief Minister needs to act without delay, and I suggest that he gather a group of experienced educationists who are of the same mind to formulate a plan for Sarawak. Education autonomy must be retrieved from the Federal government. It is the only way.

Baru Bian
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak / ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan


18 OCTOBER 2016

Many individuals and organisations have expressed objections to the PAS President’s Private Member’s Bill to amend the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction Act) 1965 which was listed to be read in Parliament this week.

The question needs to be asked why UMNO is so amenable to this Private Member’s Bill that it gets a high ranking on the list of bills to be read. It looks like UMNO has a common agenda with PAS notwithstanding having been labeled as ‘kafir’ by PAS in the past. Nobody needs to be a genius to know that it is all for political expediency; the need to hold on to Malay support in the heartland.

People have begun to realize that this bill will affect everyone, not just the Muslims as those proponents of the bill claim. This is no different to the ban on the ‘Allah’ word, which the government claimed would not affect Sarawakians and Sabahans. If this motion is passed, it will set in motion a movement to slowly and perhaps insidiously, expand the implementation of Hudud law in Malaysia.

The supremacy of secular law under Article 142 of the Federal Constitution in Malaysia has been upheld in the landmark case of Che Omar bin Che Soh v PP by the Supreme Court. In that case, the court rejected the argument that the death penalty for drug trafficking was unconstitutional for offending the principles of Islam. The Lord President held that Article 3, which recognizes Islam as the official religion of the Federation, was never meant to extend the application of Syariah to the sphere of public law.

We should not forget that one of the preambles in the Proclamation of Malaysia, declared by Tunku Abdul Rahman, is ‘… whereas there has been promulgated a Constitution for Malaysia which shall be the supreme law therein…’. The supremacy of the Federal Constitution is clearly spelt out in Article 4. This was the social contract to which our forefathers agreed and we must not allow it to be rewritten to dramatically alter the landscape of this country of which we are a part.

In all matters of upholding our rights, and not just this Hudud Bill, we must be consistent. One crucial related matter is the issue of conversion. Regrettably, religious conviction has been politicised in this country for so long that people accept it as the norm. Religion has been legislated and policed in this country so much that the notion of religious freedom has become illusory for many.

All the hurdles put in the way of Malaysians who wish to exercise their rights to their choice of religion by way of requirements for consent, counseling, attending courses are unconstitutional as they contravene Article 11 of the Federal Constitution. Given the refusal of closed-minded groups to accept these rights or even to discuss the matter, it is not surprising that opponents of the Hudud Bill such as Siti Kassim had to resort to gestures to voice their opinions.

Would it be too much to hope that should the matter come up for a vote, MPs will vote according to their conscience and not sacrifice justice and fairness for political expediency?

Baru Bian
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak / ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan

Ex-Federal Court judge rubbishes Pandikar's sub judice cloak

     Hafiz Yatim     Published     Updated
Former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram said speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia's argument, that raising the 1MDB scandal in Parliament would be sub judice, is legally incorrect.

"With respect, I do not think that makes the matter sub judice.

"In any event, the minister's answer will be hearsay evidence in the DOJ suit and will therefore be inadmissible unless the minister gives evidence in the suit.

"So with respect, I do not think that what is attributed to the honourable speaker is correct in law," he told Malaysiakini.

Yesterday, Pandikar claimed it was sub judice to discuss the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) suit to seize 1MDB assets in the country, because the Hansard could then purportedly be cited by the DOJ in its hearing.

"What the minister said here can be quoted in the American trial. In my opinion, this can influence the trial," he said.

On Tuesday, former Court of Appeal judge Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus also concurred, telling Malaysiakini the question of sub judice does not arise at all.

Fear of summons?

Meanwhile, a lawyer speculated Pandikar's move to bar discussion of the 1MDB scandal may stem from fears that ministers who are forced to cover-up the 1MDB scandal in Parliament could be summoned by the US.

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s lawyer Mohd Haniff Khatri Abdulla alleged this is the reason the speaker ruled that questions related to 1MDB cannot be raised.

“What is there to hide? Tell the truth, even if it is bitter,” he told Malaysiakini.

“That is what people want to hear from elected representatives especially ministers. This is especially so in Parliament, where they are expected to tell the truth.

“If Pandikar is looking at the possibility of the Hansard being used to influence the DOJ case... then it only shows the speaker's fear that ministers might be asked not to tell the truth and as a result of this, they could be summoned,” he said.

However, Haniff pointed out elected representatives have immunity with regard to what is said in Parliament.

Therefore, he pointed out that even if the DOJ subpoenaed them, they could apply to set it aside in Malaysia.

“So what is the fear in telling the truth? I am sure the DOJ will have their own evidence (and not merely rely on Malaysia's Hansard).
“What is needed are true answers, which everyone, including Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, is evading,” he added.
Pandikar forgets immunity

Furthermore, Haniff noted how the government had earlier stated the DOJ suit did not involve the prime minister.

If this is the case, the lawyer said, there should be no fear of Parliamentary debates on the DOJ action.

The DOJ in July initiated a series of forfeiture suits on assets and expenditure worth over US$1 billion it claims had been procured in the US using funds the department claims had been embezzled from 1MDB.

Najib had denied any wrongdoing or taking public funds for personal gains.

1MDB has also maintained that all of its funds are accounted for.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Baru to table motion on amendment to Article 1(2)

Baru (centre) showing The Borneo Post article on the hansard revelation that all Sarawak and Sabah MPs supported the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution in 1976. He is flanked by See and PKR women national vice-president Voon Shiak Ni.

KUCHING: Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian will be tabling a motion in the coming State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting, proposing that the state make a stand to reverse the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution in 1976 that downgraded Sarawak to a mere state.

The State Assembly will sit from Nov 21.

“We would like to table the motion in the coming sitting, just to initiate and give notice to the federal government that we, Sarawakians, should be making a stand on this and we hope the elected representatives from the other political divide would agree with us.

“At least, there would be a unanimous stand on the matter. We are aware that eventually, the proper place where this should be done is in Parliament, but I think it is right for the state of Sarawak to be together in this and make a stand first,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

Once a resolution is reached, the state PKR chairman hoped MPs from Sarawak or the state itself would sponsor the Bill to amend the Federal Constitution in Parliament in the next sitting.

“No, it (the DUN resolution) will not change things immediately. We make a stand first then somebody from Sarawak will sponsor a motion or convince the federal government to reverse the whole thing. It is also to test whether these BN elected representatives are serious or talk only.”

Baru said he was agreeable to BN elected representatives adopting the motion as long as the focus was the same.

“I think we made history in two of the motions: one is the increment of royalty from five to 20 per cent by our colleague in DAP; the second was the Territorial Sea Act that Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How tabled. They (BN) can put another motion and as long as it is in line with what we want to do, we will support.”

Baru further said he was also willing to withdraw the motion if BN could come up with a similar motion in the coming sitting, adding: “We will do (table) it first and I hope if they don’t accept ours, get ready theirs with the same purpose.”

“The motion is definitely long overdue and I think it is the right time for us to come together and make a stand on the matter, as it has been widely debated, and what was wrong must be made right. We were happy that we even heard some people from BN side making a stand on it.”

Meanwhile, when asked why the Sarawak MPs supported the amendment to the Federal Constitution in 1976, Baru said they probably did not realise the consequence of the amendment.

“I don’t know, we just browsed through the hansard. We will be going through it. That will be the recital of what the motion will be but it seems not very clear but it (the amendment) went on smoothly so perhaps they didn’t realise the consequence. We don’t know. It was all BN at that time. They were so powerful.”

See said based on the hansard, no MP from Sarawak and Sabah talked on Article 1(2) but instead focused on other Articles to be amended.

~ Borneo Post

All round aye from Sabah, Sarawak

Hansard reveals all Sarawak, Sabah MPs supported amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution in 1976
A cover snapshot of a 1976 Parliamentary Debates on the Bill tabled by Datuk Hussein Onn.
A cover snapshot of a 1976 Parliamentary Debates on the Bill tabled by Datuk Hussein Onn.
bp_20161019_001aaaKUCHING: The amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution which downgraded the status of Sarawak and Sabah from regions within Malaysia to states when it was debated on July 12 and July 13, 1976 was supported by 130 MPs while four objected.

The amendment to Article 1(2) was among 48 amendments to the Federal Constitution under a Bill tabled by the then Prime Minister Datuk Hussein Onn on July 12, 1976 and was passed on July 13, 1976.

None of the MPs from Sarawak opposed the Bill covering the amendments while the four MPs who opposed were Lim Kit Siang, Dr Tan Chee Khoon, Farn Seong Than and Lee Lam Thye from DAP.

Only two Sarawak MPs Leo Moggie Irok ( Kanowit) and Tin Ling Kiew (Bintulu) were not recorded in the hansard to have supported the amendment but there was also no record that they were against the amendment.

The names of two Sabah MPs Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun (Marudu) and Pengiran Tahir Pengarin Patera (Kimanis) were also absent from the record of that sitting.
(See table of Sarawak and Sabah MPs who supported the amendment.)

The Borneo Post contacted the then Saratok MP Dato Sri Edmund Langgu on Monday and asked him why he supported the amendment.

He said he could not recall what transpired during the Parliament sitting in 1976 even though he was Deputy Minister of Agriculture then.

“I can’t recall what transpired in Parliament 40 years ago; perhaps I was too busy carrying out my duties as a deputy minister,” he said.

However, Edmund who was the Saratok MP from 1963 to 1987, insisted that he had always stood up for the interest of the state.

Prior to the amendment of the Federal Constitution, it was stated in the Federal Constitution that the States of the Federation shall be; (a) the States of Malaya, namely, Johore, Kedah, Kelantan. Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu; and (b) the Borneo States, namely, Sabah and Sarawak and (c) the State of Singapore.

After the amendment in 1976, it was stated in the Federal Constitution that the states of the Federation shall be Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor and Trengganu.

Based on the Hansard, only three Sarawakian MPs namely Abdul Rahman, Yong and Latip debated during the two-day sitting but they did not touch on the amendment to Article 1(2).

The Permatang Pauh MP Ariffin Daud who supported the amendment to Article 1(2), said with the amendment, no state was a ‘foreign country’ in Malaysia because Sabah and Sarawak were also included and subjected to the constitution.

Then Rengam MP Chin Hon Ngian, who also touched on the same issue, hoped it would pave the way for better things to come especially in unifying the country of many states and especially between the Peninsular Malaysian states and Sabah and Sarawak where many laws were only applicable in the two Bornean states.

“We hope that this would place all states at par with one another and that one day, all the laws would be applicable throughout the whole nation covering all the states. At the present moment, there are still quite a number of laws which do not apply to Sabah and Sarawak,” he was quoted as saying.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem recently said that Sarawak MPs may propose in the Parliament to reinstate an article of the Federal Constitution to enable the state to regain its powers that had been eroded over the years.

Adenan said before the amendment in 1976, Sarawak and Sabah fell under a different category from Peninsular Malaysian states.

“Before that (the amendment in 1976), it says the states of Malaysia shall be (a) the states of West Malaysia, (b) Sarawak and Sabah and (c) Singapore. Now there is only one category,” the chief minister was quoted as saying.

Patrick Anek Uren, the Bau-Lundu MP then on Monday said that there were only two ways to undo the 1976 amendment to the Federal Constitution that cost Sarawak its rights as stated in the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

One option was through Parliament and the other via the State Legislative Assembly as the august house was a signatory to the Agreement.

~ Borneo Post

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Report: Displaced Bidayuh villagers ill-informed about Bengoh Dam

01:19 PM GMT+8
October 18, 2016
01:54 PM GMT+8
The construction of the Bengoh Dam located in Padawan, Sarawak, started in 2007 and completed in 2010. — Pictures courtesy of the Bar CouncilThe construction of the Bengoh Dam located in Padawan, Sarawak, started in 2007 and completed in 2010. — Pictures courtesy of the Bar Council

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — Bidayuh villagers received scant information about the impact of the Bengoh Dam in Padawan that displaced about 1,600 of them before their consent was obtained for the project, the Bar Council said.

The Bar Council’s Committee on Orang Asli Rights, which undertook a fact-finding mission to Bengoh, Sarawak, from September 17 to 21 last year, found that the affected indigenous people from four villages — Kampung Taba Sait, Kampung Pain Bojong, Kampung Rejoi and Kampung Semban — either moved to higher ground outside the Bengoh Dam area or to the government’s Bengoh Resettlement Scheme (BRS) in Padawan.

“No formal communication was received by the villagers from the contracting companies or the state government before construction began,” said the Bar Council committee’s report released today.

“They were given verbal instructions to relocate or move to higher grounds when the dam was close to completion, prompting protests which resulted in the civil suit. There were attempts to gazette their lands as national parks later, which contradicted with their earlier application for recognition of native customary rights (NCR) to lands,” it added.

According to the report, construction of the RM310 million Bengoh Dam project, which was designed to secure water supply for Kuching and surrounding areas up to 2030, began in 2007 and was completed in 2010. The project was awarded to investment holdings company Naim Holdings Berhad that appointed Sinohydro Corporation of China in 2008 to construct the dam.
Kampung Muk Ayun (previously known as Kampung Taba Sait) is located near the Sarawak Kiri River, reachable by a 30-minute boat ride from the Bengoh Dam. Kampung Muk Ayun (previously known as Kampung Taba Sait) is located near the Sarawak Kiri River, reachable by a 30-minute boat ride from the Bengoh Dam.

The Bar Council said government officials had told villagers, back when the Bengoh Dam was mooted in the early 2000s, that they would benefit from the dam and there was no need to shift from the area, but they only needed to move further up above the water level when their villages were flooded.

“Many of them did not object to the dam project as the impression given then was that their villages would not be affected by the project,” said the report.

“It is noteworthy that there was no official communication from the contracting company or the Government concerning the dam to these villagers. The villagers knew about the dam project through word of mouth and could not identify the source of the information.

“In addition to that, much of the information they received were in bits and pieces. During this period, they were still in the dark about when the construction would start, which areas would be flooded, and most importantly, were they expected to resettle,” the report added.

The villagers filed a civil suit in 2010 against the contractor Naim and the Sarawak state government, seeking recognition of NCR lands, when a local government minister reportedly told them in 2009 that they would not be allowed to stay in their NCR lands even if their lands were above the water catchment area.

According to the Bar Council, all Kampung Semban families moved to the government’s BRS, but 49 families from Kampung Taba Sait, Kampung Rejoi and Kampung Pain Bojong refused to do so and built new settlements on the upper areas near their villages, 20km from the Bengoh Dam, called Upper Bengoh.

“The affected Bidayuh villagers refused to move out as they do not wish to lose their native customary rights over their ancestral land, established through occupation by their ancestors since time immemorial.

“Apart from losing their customary land, the Bidayuh were concerned over issues relating to the loss of income and livelihood, and compensation for the loss of their homes and property including their farms,” said the report.

According to the Bar Council, the people living in the BRS chose to move there because the resettlement had water and electricity supplies compared to their former villages, with their compensation as an added bonus. It was also closer to town, where they could get healthcare and education for their children.
Kampung Sting (previously known as Kampung Pain Bojong) is located further uphill from Muk Ayun, close to the mountains. Kampung Sting (previously known as Kampung Pain Bojong) is located further uphill from Muk Ayun, close to the mountains.  

However, they have reportedly not received the monthly RM800 allowance for cost of living for three years. The three acres of land allocated to each household was reportedly not sufficient either for a family of more than six.

“These lands could not be used to rear animals. We have noted that few of the villagers were employed. Most opted to work in the agriculture land provided to them in the BRS and the rest were unoccupied with no activities,” said the report.

The Sarawak state government reportedly tried to overcome the villagers’ NCR claims by gazetting the area in 2013 as national parks. The villagers filed for a judicial review of the gazette.

The Kuching High Court later issued a consent order in December 2014 for the 2010 civil suit that recognised 2,592 hectares of NCR lands, but ruled that the affected villagers must vacate the NCR lands falling under the Bengoh Dam Reservoir area.

The court also awarded compensation of RM3.14 million to 54 villagers, which only took into account the size and condition of their former houses.

“The compensation awarded did not include the value of farmed lands such as corn, pepper and cocoa. Also, the compensation awarded for farmed land was only per household and not for each husband or wife,” said the report.

The judicial review of the proposed national park gazette did not proceed to substantive hearing because of the consent order for the earlier civil suit. The state government agreed not to proceed with the gazette and the villagers decided to withdraw their judicial review application.

The Bar Council noted that there are no schools nor mobile clinics in Upper Bengoh.

“The villagers in Upper Bengoh had to go through the journey of crossing paths in the jungle, untarred roads and rivers to reach the nearest health facility,” said the report.

The Bengoh Dam construction also reportedly split the Bidayuh community between those who stayed in Upper Bengoh and those who resettled in the BRS.
The government's Bengoh Resettlement Scheme (BRS), also known as Rumah Mesra Rakyat, is less than half an hour's drive from Kuching by road. The government's Bengoh Resettlement Scheme (BRS), also known as Rumah Mesra Rakyat, is less than half an hour's drive from Kuching by road.

“The villagers do harbour some resentment towards those who they believed, opted the easy way of resettling in the BRS and still maintain their NCR to lands, while those who moved to higher grounds had to work together to create new homes and go through the arduous court process to obtain NCR to lands for all the villagers with no help from those who shifted to the BRS,” said the report.

The report concluded that the government and construction companies should undertake more efforts to consult the community before undertaking any major projects that affect them.

“It is not right to impose external development patterns on these vulnerable communities,” it said.

~ The Malay Mail

S'gor gov't to challenge EC's redelineation in court

 Kow Gah Chie     Published     Updated
The Selangor government will challenge the Election Commission's proposed redelineation in court, Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali said today.
The state government wants the Kuala Lumpur High Court to quash the EC's notice and recommendations for the redelineation exercise, said the PKR deputy president.

"We are giving you notice that the state government will file an application for judicial review either by this evening or latest by tomorrow," Azmin told a press conference today.

Based on the preliminary finding, he said, the state government's team of experts found evidence that the redelineation exercise was unconstitutional.

It violated Article 113 and Section 2(a), 2(b), 2(c) and 2(d) of the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, which stipulated that constituencies be approximately equal-sized, according to Azmin.

He said the exercise demonstrated malapportionment, gerrymandering and was against Selangor's multicultural spirit.

"The society and voters in Selangor have enjoyed harmonious working relationships for decades. The EC is coming in and trying to destroy this by pushing one race to one particular area and bringing different races to another area.

"This is not healthy for Selangor and Malaysia. In order for us to move forward, we have to work as one community that has mutual respect (for one another) and that is the success story for Selangor," he said.
On top of that, he said the information that the EC gave was not sufficient for voters to exercise their right to submit their objection.
"We want the court to order EC to conduct the exercise in accordance to the Federal Constitution," he said.

"We are also applying for the court to issue an order to prohibit the EC's inquiry process until the case is heard in court.

"We have a strong case."

The EC published its redelineation proposal in newspapers on Sept 15 and allowed voters to object within a month from its publication.

S'wak natives claim BN yet to fulfil election promise on ICs

Zikri Kamarulzaman     Published     Updated

A group of Sarawak natives claims the BN government has yet to fulfil its promise made during the state elections five months ago, to give natives without birth certificates or identity cards, proper documents.

The four activists, led by Mujan Jok, said this after handing a memorandum to Miri MP Michael Teo, addressed to both opposition leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

"During the elections, they promised to help with the IC issue, they managed to win over the people's hearts but after they won they were ungrateful," Mujan told reporters outside the Parliament lobby today.

She said during the election, BN had gathered those without birth certificates or ICs, to take down their details.
However, nothing has materialised from this.
Mujan, who had travelled over 3,000km from Baram in the interiors of Sarawak to the Parliament in Kuala Lumpur, said this is the second time she has had to send this memorandum.
She had previously sent a similar memorandum to Parliament on June 28, but received no response.

Mujan explained that for the people in the interiors of Sarawak, many opted to give birth in their villages, as travelling to clinics was difficult and expensive.

She estimated that up to 20,000 Sarawakians do not have proper documentation.

She hoped the government would consider the hardships they had to face and helped make things easier for this community.


17 OCTOBER 2016

I was encouraged to read in the Borneo Post today that the CM is minded to reclaim Sarawak’s rights from the Federal government, in particular, the reversal of the 1976 amendment of the Federal Constitution. He has been championing our rights since taking over the helm and in this, we support him fully. On certain matters such as our autonomy and oil royalties, the CM has talked about requesting for such from the PM as he is unable to unilaterally take what we want. However, it is well within his power to direct the Sarawakian MPs in the BN component parties to submit a motion and we wait with great anticipation to see what unfolds.

On our part, we will encourage the PKR MPs to support such a motion if it is tabled in Parliament. PKR MP Johari Abdul has spoken up on this issue several times. In fact, last year, in Parliament, he said that Sabah and Sarawak should be treated as equal partners in the federation and should be given equal allocation of funds. He went further to say that if he were PM, he would appoint a deputy prime minister each for Sabah and Sarawak to oversee their respective territories.

On this matter of reclaiming Sarawak’s rights, the CM Adenan Satem has been the most vocal from the BN camp, taking on this issue which we have advocated since 2011. We would be very interested to hear what the leaders of other Sarawakian BN component parties have to say. Which party will take the lead to prepare and submit the motion in Parliament? This is what Sarawakians are waiting to see.

I earnestly hope that these party leaders will throw their weight behind the CM. Regardless of their numbers, all MPs must make strong representations in Parliament for Sarawak. The federal government must be made aware that Sarawakians are united in this issue and will not be treated as poor cousins any longer.

For the CM, this is a test of his sincerity on reclaiming Sarawak’s rights, and of his leadership of the BN component parties. It is crucial that Sarawakian voices start to be heard loud and clear in Parliament. Moves are being made to change the social contract that is the foundation of the federation of Malaysia and we must rise up to the challenge of defending the vision of Malaysia was it was meant to be.

Baru Bian
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak / ADUN N81’ Ba’ Kelalan

Thursday, October 13, 2016

HRW releases report on ‘free speech’ in M’sia

 | October 13, 2016

Tolerance by the authorities for dissent is so low that even ordinary social media users are being targeted, says latest report.

KUALA LUMPUR: Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a 40-page document on the Malaysian Government’s bid to “criminalise” peaceful speech and assembly.

The Government uses “overbroad and vaguely worded laws” the HRW charges in the report titled, “Deepening the Culture of Fear: The Criminalisation of Peaceful Expression in Malaysia.”

Malaysia’s prosecution of peaceful speech had spread beyond activists and politicians, noted Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at HRW in a statement. “It has spread to ordinary citizens on social media.”

The Government’s actions signal an ever-broadening crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly in the country, he warned.

Since HRW’s October 2015 report, “Creating a Culture of Fear,” the Malaysian Government had done little to bring laws and practices in line with international legal standards, charged Robertson.

Instead, he lamented, the Government had suggested it would strengthen, among others, statutes limiting speech on social media.

“Criminalising peaceful speech appears part of the Malaysian Government’s efforts to tighten the noose on political discontent,” said Robertson.

The Government has particularly sought to punish individuals who have criticised Prime Minister Najib Razak on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal, he said.

The Government had also gone after those deemed to have ‘insulted’ Najib or the sultans on social media, Robertson noted.

Elsewhere, he said, the Government had sought to discourage people from holding public assemblies and protests by resorting to the Peaceful Assembly Act.

The Government had also gone to great efforts to keep controversial information out of public view, he continued. “This can be seen in its use of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) on the 1MDB scandal.”

Faced with new leaks of information on the 1MDB scandal, said the HRW statement, the Government had also threatened to increase penalties under the OSA to life in prison.

“As Najib’s political fortunes fall, Malaysia’s intolerance of critical speech seems to rise,” noted Robertson.

“Deepening the Culture of Fear: The Criminalisation of Peaceful Expression in Malaysia” is available at:

~ Free Malaysia Today

PKR, DAP submit over 50 objections against redelineation

Anne Muhammad     Published     Updated

The Selangor branches of PKR and DAP today submitted more than 50 objections to the Election Commission (EC) against its redelineation exercise.

The opposition parties said they believed the redelineation exercise is unfair, political in nature and will lead to a split among the races in particular areas.

PKR's Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin pointed out how all areas in Selangor would be affected by the exercise.

Racial unity would also be affected, Zuraida added, as one area would only see only one race as the majority.

“We are sending these objections to show our objection to the redelineation exercise.

“This shows that Selangor is serious when it comes to the redelineation exercise, since the EC has failed to even follow basic principles,” the PKR Wanita chief told a press conference at the EC office in Selangor.

The objections were submitted to Selangor EC deputy director Kamarul Azman Ahmad Sabri at its headquarters in Shah Alam.

Also present was PSM's Sri Andalas state assemblyperson Dr Xavier Jayakumar, who said concentrating one race in a particular area would not reflect ‘one Malaysia’.

He added that the EC's move may lead to an apartheid policy similar to what was once practised in South Africa.

“This is a very serious matter, it will lead to a split among races despite the country being multiracial for the past 59 years," he said.

Kota Lanjan state representative Elizabeth Wong, Kota Anggerik representative Yaakob Sapari, Batu Tiga assemblyperson Rodziah Ismail, Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming, Kota Alam Shah representative V Ganabatirau and Kinrara assemblyperson Ng Sze Han were also present.

Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor had previously denied claims that the redelineation exercise would only benefit Barisan Nasional.

Tengku Adnan claimed that many in the ruling coalition were unhappy with the exercise, and he had instructed BN component parties to submit their objections through the right channel.

But Ong said if BN parties were not in agreement with the EC, they should then lend their support to the opposition once the matter is raised in Parliament.
Ong added that they should submit their objections as soon as possible as the last day to do so is tomorrow.
However, Zuraida said Tengku Adnan’s statement was a mere “gimmick” on the part of BN.

“It’s just their gimmick to show that they are supposedly unhappy with the redelineation exercise.

“Yes, the opposition is raising this matter because the exercise is not being conducted according to laws and redelineation policies,” she added.

Forestry Dept bars lawyer from sending aid to Orang Asli blockade

Published     Updated

Lawyer Siti Kassim was yesterday blocked by officers of the Forestry Department from sending food and supplies to her clients in the Pos Tohoi Orang Asli settlement in Gua Musang, Kelantan.

Her clients have mounted a blockade against logging in the area since Sept 26.

She added the authorities had also put up a signboard barring all suppliers and traders from entering the village.

"The signboard (barring entry by suppliers) effectively prohibits most, if not all of the Orang Asli, from surviving in the jungle.

"You see what they are trying to do? I do," she wrote on Facebook.

According to a video posted on Siti's Facebook page, the Forestry Department officers turned her away because she did not have a permit to enter a gazetted forest reserve.

The officers cited Section 47(e) of the Forestry Act 1948 which states that no entry is allowed into forest reserves unless they have written permission from the Forestry Department director, and are entering for the reason stated on the permit.

To this, Siti questioned why they are only blocking access now when loggers have been using this path with no consequence.

She also stressed that she was invited by the villagers, and that a lawyer cannot be barred from accessing her clients.

"A prison is also a restricted area, but a lawyer can access his/her client there," she said.

The officers then insisted that this is an instruction they must comply with and advised her to obtain a permit to enter from the state Forestry Department in Kota Baru.

Kelantan Forestry Department director Zahari Ibrahim confirmed the directive, The Star reported.

"Why do you think they are doing this? Exercising their duty? Or something more sinister?

"We are lodging police reports for denying access to my clients and stopping supplies to the Orang Asli," Siti wrote on Facebook.

Jaringan Kampung Orang Asal Kelantan Mustafa Along said the blockade will continue even without supplies.
"We will hold out without food (from outside). We have tapioca that we can eat,” he reportedly told The Star.
Some 200 villagers last month put up a blockade to prevent logs from leaving the area, but their blockade was reportedly disrupted by "thugs".

Police reports were lodged and the Kelantan police have vowed to investigate the matter.

The Orang Asli are blocking the logging as they claim deforestation is affecting their water and food sources.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


12 OCTOBER 2016

The uncovering of the multi-million ringgit corruption in Sabah has generated a mixture of responses from the public and politicians. Yesterday’s Borneo Post carried the opinions of several individuals as to whether the corruption scandal would have an impact on Sarawak and its politics, and highlights the civil servants’ integrity pledge.

Without a doubt, the case definitely has an impact on the perception of the government by the ordinary person. One could say that nobody is surprised anymore about unfolding corruption scandals – after all, the top leader of this country is mired in what the international press dubs the world’s biggest financial scandal. Almost every day, the international press discloses 1MDB-related developments in the foreign countries such as the USA and Switzerland whose institutions are implicated in the scandal, the latest being that Singapore has shut down the bank involved.

However, in Malaysia, the AG, flying in the face of the facts uncovered by international investigators, had unilaterally declared that the PM was innocent. Why then should we be surprised that civil servants and politicians follow the practices of their leaders, when it appears that corruption is acceptable by morphing into a ‘donation’? As the popular saying goes, ‘the fish rots from the head down’. Perhaps the 2 civil servants in Sabah can also claim that the cash found was a donation from mysterious benefactors.

The current Chief Minister’s initiative in extracting integrity pledges from his ministers and the state civil servants has been lauded by many. Integrity pledges are well and good, but it is an indictment of our moral and ethical decay that the CM should require ministers and civil servants to sign such a pledge. Integrity is an innate and inherent trait that an individual either possesses or does not. Signing a pledge does not imbue a person with integrity if he or she does not already have that trait. That the State Secretary should have to issue a warning, much like a teacher threatening schoolchildren, does not bode well for our confidence in ministers and other civil servants.

Whilst the MACC is to be commended for their work in Sabah, there is a need for them to be consistent. The law must be applied to all, irrespective of position and political leanings. In Sarawak, let us not bury our heads in the sand and suffer the short-term memory syndrome – we have our share of corrupted politicians and civil servants. The only difference is that they have not been exposed, for whatever reason. The banned news portal Sarawak Report carried a wealth of information about corruption in Sarawak, before switching their focus to exposing the 1MDB scandal.

Numerous reports had been lodged with the MACC against the top government officials in Sarawak but up until now, no action has been taken. The MACC in Sabah has said that the wealth of the 2 officers is not commensurate with their salaries. Is the reported RM64bil wealth of the former CM commensurate with his salary? When people are not treated equally, people have a right to be skeptical of the motives for actions that are being taken. The law must be applied across the board, and not selectively.

Of integrity pledges, this truism holds fast: actions speak louder than words.

Baru Bian
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak / ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan